Nyasa Big Bullets yesterday proved they are still in contention for the TNM Super League championship after a convincing 3-1 victory over Silver Strikers in a tightly contested encounter at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
Though missing some key players due to injuries, the defending champions were able to control the tempo of the game as the visitors played second fiddle in all aspects of the match.
Bullets won the match from the midfield which coach Callisto Pasuwa packed with two attacking midfielders Man-of-the-Match Chimwemwe Idana and Mike Mkwate with Chimango Kayira as defensive midfielder.
Mkwate and Idana were just too much for Silver’s workaholic captain Young Chimodzi Jnr.
For all the noise that he is going to give TNM Super League current top goal scorer Babatunde Adepoju a good run for his money, Silver’s controversial striker Khuda Muyaba, who had no shot on target, found himself playing deep to get the ball as the Bankers’ midfield was disjointed.
With Peter Banda and Precious Sambani also intimidating the visitors from the wings, it was just a matter of time before the Bankers succumbed.
Hassan Kajoke put Bullets in the lead just nine minutes into the match, which was watched by multitudes, when he beat an offside trap and tapped in from close range, beating Silver goalkeeper Brightone Munthali who left his line to narrow the angle after being played in by Banda.
Banda should have made it 2-0 in the 28th minute but his shot was cleared on the line by defender Mike Robert who cleared on the line after with Munthali beaten clean.
But Silver still managed to get a consolation goal against all odds thanks to striker Michael Teteh, who despite the day going bad for the Bankers, ghosted in the equaliser in the 31st minute after being accorded a free header as Bullets defence was caught flat-footed.
However, Bullets restored the lead just before first-half recess through Sambani who scored in the 46th minute for the first stanza to end 2-1.
Silver coach Lovemore Fazili, in an effort to come back into the game pulled out misfiring Victor Limbani for Kondwani Mwaila.
He then pulled out Thuso Paipi, who was overshadowed by Banda, and replaced him with veteran Green Harawa.
The Bankers exhausted their substitutions by introducing Sheriff Shamama for injured defender Wali.
Bullets responded by introducing veteran Chiukepo Msowoya for Bright Munthali.
Just when Silver were beginning to come back into the game, impressive Idana sealed the victory for Bullets in the 77th minute with a goal that would compete for the Goal of the Season Award with his left-footed thunderbolt outside the box which caught Silver goalie Munthali off-guard.
For Bullets, the win sets the pace for the CAF Champions League preliminary round tie against Platinum FC of Zimbabwe next Saturday while Silver now have to work hard to get maximum points against Ntopwa FC this afternoon at the same venue.
Silver team manager Itae Nundwe in a post-match interview admitted that the Bankers were not at their best.
“We could have done it better. Bullets utilised their chances and scored three goals. We will go back to the drawing board and work on the shotfalls from today’s game,” he said.
Pasuwa was all smiles, knowing the three points helped the team move to third position.
“We played a good side. The good thing is we dominated the midfield. We kept the ball away from them and we utilised our chances and scored those three goals,” he said.